APEC workshop promotes innovation among SMEs

January 18, 2017 | 16:20
At the workshop organised by the Ministry of Industry and Trade on January 17 and 18, APEC countries shared experiences in promoting market-oriented innovation management practices at SMEs and explored possible ways to foster innovation among SMEs.

According to the APEC’s website, SMEs account for over 97 per cent of all enterprises and employ over half of the workforce across APEC economies. SMEs contribute significantly to economic growth, with their share of GDP ranging from 20 to 50 per cent in the majority of APEC economies. However, they only account for 35 per cent or less of direct exports. The APEC’s Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) therefore works to encourage the development of SMEs and to build their capacity to engage in international trade.

In September 2016, the SME Ministers endorsed the SMEWG Strategic Plan for 2017-2020 which provides a roadmap to address critical issues pertaining to the growth of SMEs and micro enterprises (MEs) in the APEC in four pillars: a) entrepreneurship, innovation, and the internet and digital economy; b) financing for business expansion and capability development; c) inclusive business ecosystem that supports SME growth; and d) market access for SMEs.

For the first critical issue, namely entrepreneurship, innovation, and the internet and digital economy, the working group is trying to promote an entrepreneurial culture amongst the youth, women, and other individuals, foster innovation in SMEs to strengthen business competitiveness, help SMEs to build capabilities to take advantage of and compete effectively via the internet and digital economy, and support SME development in specific industries based on the economic development needs of individual member economies.

This year’s APEC will be themed “Creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future.” Boosting trade and investment and promoting economic integration, structural reforms, and SME innovation are critical to enabling APEC economies to better harness all opportunities from the fourth industrial revolution and the third wave of globalisation.

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By By Hong Anh

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